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MSU-Billings Baseball hosts Central Washington

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 BILLINGS, Mont. - Luke Reinschmidt hit a game-winning inside-the-park three-run home run in Game 1 and added a game-tying solo home run in the seventh inning of Game 2, as the Montana State University Billings baseball team split a Great Northwest Athletic Conference doubleheader against Central Washington on Friday at Dehler Park.

Trailing 6-0 in the fifth inning of Game 1, Brody Miller hit a grand slam to bring the 'Jackets within two runs. With the score tied at 8-8 in the eighth inning, Reinschmidt hammered a ball off of the wall in center field, and motored around the bases after CWU's center fielder was slow to get up after colliding with the wall. The hit proved to be the game-winner as freshman Adam Cox earned his fourth save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal the 11-8 victory.

Reinschmidt again came through with his team trailing by a run and two outs in the bottom of the seventh in Game 2, launching a solo blast over the right-center field fence to send the game to extra frames. The Wildcats pushed across a run in the top of the eighth however, holding on for a 5-4 win.

Brady Muller turned in a strong start for the 'Jackets in Game 1, throwing 122 pitches and lasting eight innings to pick up the win. Muller had five strikeouts against just one walk, scattering 11 hits and giving up four earned runs in his fourth win of the season.

"We competed hard today," said MSUB head coach Rob Bishop. "Fundamentally we didn't execute some things that we have been doing well. I know our guys will come out tomorrow ready to play."

With the split MSUB remained in second place in the GNAC standings at 10-7 in conference play and an overall mark of 15-18 on the season. Central Washington is now 18-19 and 9-13 in GNAC play.

Garrett Terrell had the game-winning hit in Game 2 for CWU, roping a double into right field in the eighth inning to plate Benjamin Dunbar in the 5-4 win.

Game 1 - MSU Billings 11, Central Washington 8

The Yellowjackets' home run leaders came through in a huge way in Game 1, as Miller got the ball rolling with his fifth-inning grand slam and Reinschmidt finished the game with his three-run shot in the eighth.

MSUB had a tough time against CWU starter Mitch Yada, as the 'Jackets did not score until Miller's shot over the left field fence in the fifth. Yada tossed 4 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one while giving up four runs on nine hits. Alhanon Miller took the loss for the 'Cats, giving up the final seven runs while striking out three over his 3 1/3 innings of work.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 6-0 lead, scoring one in the third and putting up a big five spot in the fifth. CWU took advantage of three MSUB errors in the big inning, as only half of the runs Muller allowed on the day were earned.

Left fielder Myles Wesener had a big game for the Wildcats, going 3-for-5 at the plate with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Jonathan Dailey and Jeff Beckman also each had a pair of hits for CWU in Game 1.

Miller finished with five RBIs in the first game, while leadoff hitter Myles Berkram was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and Casey Merritt finished 3-for-4 with a pair of runs.

After Miller's grand slam, CWU responded with two more runs in the sixth as RBI-singles by Beckman and Kasey Bielec made the score 8-4.

A defensive letdown by CWU in the bottom of the frame opened the door for MSUB, as Conner Holbrook reached on a one-out error.

Berkram plated Holbrook on a bunt single that he popped over the head of a charging Beckman, and Miller followed with an RBI-double to center that scored Berkram all the way from first after a throwing error. Kyle Durbin added an RBI-groundout, as MSUB pulled even and set the stage for Reinschmidt's late-game heroics.

Already passing the 100-pitch mark, Muller returned to the mound and cruised through the Wildcats in order in the seventh and eighth innings.

Berkram led off the eighth with a base hit, and Miller drew a full-count walk to put two runners on. With two down, Reinschmidt hit the pitch from Miller off the wall in center and never stopped running as he put MSUB ahead for good 11-8.

The 'Jackets out hit the Wildcats 16-11 in the first game, but neither team played well defensively as there were seven combined errors. The 'Jackets left seven runners on base while the 'Cats left five.

Game 2 - Central Washington 5, MSU Billings 4 (8 Innings)

MSUB came from behind three times in the second game, but could not muster a fourth comeback as the Wildcats salvaged a victory and held on for the tight 5-4 extra-inning win.

CWU again took the lead first as a two-out single by Randy Fuller brought home Darren Honeysett in the top of the first inning off of MSUB starter Jake Campeau.

MSUB threatened to tie the game in the bottom half, but the 'Jackets could not plate a run despite three singles in the inning.

With two outs in the second, Merritt came through with his fourth hit of the day into left field to score Kevin Toon and make the score 1-1.

Campeau and his counterpart Zach Johnson were equally effective on the mound, pitching out of tight situations through the middle innings and keeping their teams in the game. The Wildcats broke through in the fourth inning, manufacturing a run to take a 2-1 edge.

MSUB took its first lead of the game in the fifth, as Reinschmidt plated a run with a hit to center, and an error by Beckman allowed Colter Sternhagen to cross the plate.

Unfazed by facing a deficit, CWU came right back with two runs in the sixth inning. Dailey poked a double down the line in right field, and Beckman followed with an RBI-single as the 'Cats pulled ahead 4-3.

Needing to score a run to stay alive, Reinschmidt emphatically rounded the bases after pushing his team ahead with a solo blast to right center as the score moved to 4-4.

The 'Jackets came up short in the bottom of the eighth however, leaving the tying run on first as Dailey closed the door on the mound to earn the win.

THE BUZZ: Reinschmidt and Miller each broke the MSUB single-season record for home runs, and Reinschmidt currently holds the title with 10 on the season after his two today…with five RBIs on the day Reinschmidt is now just nine shy of the MSUB single-season record of 52, and he remained the GNAC leader in that category…with two walks, Miller is now tied for second in GNAC history with 101 career walks, and is on the verge of breaking the current record of 105…Muller moved to No. 2 in GNAC history with his 39th career start and No. 5 in career innings pitched with 252…Reinschmidt was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…the 'Jackets and Wildcats are now 3-3 against one another this season, after splitting the first series with two wins apiece in Ellensburg, Wash., from Feb. 28 - March 1.